July marked another busy month for the riders of the Wightlink-Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team who competed in no less than 5 different events across the South.
4 of the strongest team riders went to the annual Goodwood team time trial last Tuesday (25th July), taking a top 10 win in what was a closely fought event.
After competing in 2016 the team had a time of 52:20 to beat with a strong aim of getting onto the podium. Adam Holleyman, Stu Waite, Ian Hayden and Matt Allsopp lined up in Wightlink colours.
Holleyman started at the front and he soon got the group up to speed averaging 28.5mph over the 24 mile race.
With a few issues getting past other teams they completed the race in 49:48 and, with the top ten within 2 minutes of each other, managed to get 7th overall out of 34 teams entered.
Earlier in the month, on 18th July, Wightlink-Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team rider Joe Staunton travelled to Thruxton circuit in pursuit of gaining his 3rd category licence.
Having picked up 8 points in his previous race and wanting to complete the transition to 3rd category as quickly as possible, Staunton needed 6th place or better to achieve the required points.
After a briefing from the race officials, which stated the race would be called off as soon as any lightning struck, the tone for the weather was set. Thunder and rain ensued.
An early break got away consisting of 3 riders. After another group got away with both groups getting a substantial lead, Staunton tried to motivate the main bunch to draw them back in.
After several laps of working hard on the front and getting frustrated at the lack of support from the main bunch he went off to catch the 2 groups ahead alone. 3 riders went with Staunton and within a lap they had caught the first group. Staunton and several of this new group subsequently attacked again and chased the lead group.
With the weather closing in the race was shortened and the bell lap went. Now sitting in a chasing group of 5 riders and not being able to close the gap to the main group with 2 laps being cut out Staunton timed an attack on the final bend from several hundred metres out to distance all but one of the group and come 5th overall. This secured the points needed to gain his 3rd category licence and in just 2 races.
On 19th July, 3 Wightlink-Wight Mountain riders made their way to Mountbatten circuit in Portsmouth for the 10th race in the series, with Ian Hayden and Kev Foster competing in the 3rd Category race.
The race started with a couple of early attacks which Foster worked hard on the front to chase down and bring back. With strong attack from 2 other riders who were about to lap the back and 5 minutes left, Hayden launched his own attack with Foster disrupting the chase group, to help slow the chase.
Hayden held for half a lap to stay away from a strong chase group to take third, with Foster finishing comfortably in the main group.
In the E12 race Matt Allsopp raced attacking from the start and trying to forge a gap to get away from the main bunch, unfortunately the bunch were not having any of that and the pace was kept high, keeping the race fairly tight. With another rider they managed to stay away for a few laps but eventually got chased down by the main group.
With 1 lap to go Allsopp took on the sprint producing a powerful performance to take 5th on the line.
The following evening, on 20th July, the team took on the SpyVelo Pearl 10 mile time trial, the course starting on the Military Road using the Blackgang roundabout as a turn and finishing back at Isle of Wight Pearl.
With some strong crosswinds making bike handling interesting at times, Adam Holleyman took the win in a time of 22.31, Ian Hayden second with 22.36 and Simon Ambrosini in third with 22.48. Matt Allsopp won the road bike category in a time of 23.24, rounding out a great team performance.
Sunday 23rd July saw Dave Cooper travel to Winchester South Park and ride for the second of four summer criteriums.
From the start the pace was high and constant. This and the mix of a down hill going into a tight left hand bend with the hazard of a drain cover in the bend and the rain beginning to fall during the race made for some interesting racing.
Cooper kept with the head of the field for the first half before struggling to keep pace and being splintered off with others.
Still keeping his eye on licence points Cooper persevered but unfortunately fell short of the points.